Sophie walked toward me and tried, without much success, to suppress her grin. Gesturing with her hands in excitement, she yelled “Mom!” several times as she approached the dining room table where I was sitting.
“I finished Harry Potter! I finished it! I can’t believe I finished it!”
Continue reading Goodbye, Harry Potter…Hello, 11
They had wiped their plates clean. All that remained were some stray vegetables and small bones.
“Did you like the meat, girls?” Papa asked. They nodded their assent. In the seconds that followed, I looked up at my husband and attempted to use our finely tuned marital ESP to convey a warning to him. “Do not say anything more on the subject,” I said with my eyes.
Continue reading Sophie Ate a Little Lamb
Where are all the cars? We’ve driven hundreds of miles since leaving Las Vegas eight days ago. Yet despite the fact that summer is the busiest time of year for the national parks we’ve visited, the lack of traffic on the roads is astounding. Actually, my use of the word “traffic” here is entirely misleading. Because there is NO traffic, at least not in the “Cross-Bronx-Expressway-is-a-parking-lot-with-bumper-to-bumper-traffic-again-They-should-just-bomb-this-road-into-oblivion” way. We arrived in Moab today and it has the first traffic lights we’ve seen since Las Vegas on July 6. I am not lying.
Continue reading Adventures & Misadventures, Part II – Bryce Canyon & Cedar Breaks National Monument
Chloe and I are off to London tomorrow evening, our first vacation as a mother-daughter team. I have been anticipating this moment since our babies were born, hoping that someday I’d be fortunate enough to travel with them one-on-one when they were old enough to enjoy and appreciate it.
Continue reading Sharing Wanderlust – London, Here We Come
Sophie has never really loved to read on her own. She’s never had the patience or the desire to attempt any tome without illustrations (the artist in her enjoys graphic novels) unless we’re the ones reading to her. This, of course, is in startling contrast to her sister, who was reading lengthy chapter books at six years old.
But we all march to the beat of our own drummers, and Sophie is no different. She takes her time. She’s deliberate without being a perfectionist. She’s a creator and a bit of a scientist. She’s a fashionista. And although she’s reluctantly read several books since the start of the school year for her language arts class, the other day she officially joined the ranks of children everywhere who have conquered their first big-kid, several-hundred-page-long novel.
And in Sophie’s case, that several-hundred-page-long novel was not Harry Potter. On Sunday night, she came running into the TV room, giddy with excitement. She was jumping up and down, screaming, “I finished it! I finished it!” The novel in question, The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer (yes, of “Glee” fame), held her in rapt attention for three weeks as she slowly absorbed a 438-page story about twins who enter a land inhabited by their favorite fairy tale characters.
Sophie was extremely proud of her accomplishment. For the first time ever, she read and read and read. Some evenings, she’d read for 90 minutes straight. No TV, no video games. Just the book. For a kid who used to moan and groan if she had to read for 15 minutes, this was momentous. And to hear her laugh as she read a funny passage was priceless.
I don’t think that Sophie will necessarily become as fervent a reader as Chloe. But she’s enthusiastically started her next novel, “Flora & Ulysses” by Kate DiCamillo, and in between critical commentaries about the book jumping around a little too much, her laughter is ringing through the house all over again. And that’s music to this mom’s ears.
Tomorrow is Chloe’s birthday and it’s hard to believe she will be 12 years old. Sophie and I asked Chloe a series of questions about her upcoming birthday:
Continue reading What Chloe Has to Say About Turning 12
We heard the patter of not-so-little feet last night at 10 pm. As they made their way down the stairs, we knew it was Chloe. She approached us with a bittersweet smile on her face and asked “Can I stay up to finish Harry Potter? Please? Please?” She had made it to the epilogue of the final tome – how could we say no?
Chloe was excited and sad at the same time. “I don’t want it to end.” She was unabashedly proud of her accomplishment – a total of 4,198 pages read in less than four months
. Her favorite part of the series came near the end, when Harry and his friends battled Voldemort and the Death Eaters. Dumbledore and Ron were her favorite characters and the saddest part for her was when Dumbledore died. She was most surprised by the truth about Snape (who wasn’t nearly as evil as she once suspected).
Chloe is going to miss Harry Potter and is looking for the next series to dig her teeth into. Suggestions are welcome. She’s understandably afraid she’ll never find another series that she’ll love as much as Harry Potter. “J.K. Rowling is such a good author,” Chloe said wistfully. Perhaps Chloe will be the next J.K. Rowling…
After a week of Sophie-centric blog entries, it’s finally time to turn our attention to Chloe, whose nose has been in the books almost non-stop for the last couple of weeks.
Because she’s obsessed with reading the Nancy Drew books in order, even though there’s no need to, she’s currently stuck at number 10. In order to continue her quest to read the whole series, she needs volume 11, which we don’t have. But because she’s addicted to reading, she needed to find another tome to occupy her imagination.
She finally turned to Harry Potter about two weeks ago, and quicker than you can say “Voldemort,” she finished the first two books in the series. She started the third volume the other day, but has temporarily set it aside to read “The Borrowers” instead.
While it’s absolutely terrific that she’s reading so much, I wonder how much of these books she understands. It’s not like she sits with a dictionary at her side while she’s turning the pages. And during the week, we’re rarely around to assist her with vocabulary.
That said, I’m fairly confident she understands the larger themes. For example, we were having a conversation at dinner the other night about prejudice. There was an incident at school – a child in her class was using an extremely derogatory word to describe another child, and Chloe sensed that the word was bad, even though she had never heard it before. She told the teacher that the word was spreading around the classroom. Over dinner, I explained why the word was so pejorative and intolerant, and Chloe compared it to the way Draco in the Harry Potter books talks insultingly and hatefully about “mudbloods.” Her analogy was right on point. It’s always nice to know that the right books can teach kids the right lessons about life.
I’ve been encouraging Chloe to try reading the Harry Potter books for the last couple of months – but she’s resisted because of her obsession with reading every single Nancy Drew book that’s ever been published.
However, she’s out of Nancy Drew books (at least for now). So after reading two other novels about knights in shining armor, she decided to delve into the first Harry Potter tome. So far, so good.
Tonight she came bounding downstairs, book in hand, when she heard me come home from Back-to-School night. “Mommy, mommy!” she exclaimed. “I’m at the part where they find out what houses they’re in!”
Chloe didn’t believe me when I promised her that reading the books would be a much different experience from watching the movies. In fact, Chloe often doesn’t believe me when I tell her things. But that’s another story for another time. For now, I’m just happy that she’s reading so much – it’s truly gratifying.
That’d be our dear Chloe. Who started volume six of the Nancy Drew series on Saturday and who is now almost done with volume seven, a mere two days later!
She has become a voracious reader, at least of Nancy Drew. I’m trying to convince her to start reading the “Harry Potter” books, but because she’s the obsessive-compulsive daughter of an obsessive-compulsive mother, she likely won’t even seriously consider starting another series until she’s read all of the million (ok – the original series had 56 books; but there have been several spin-offs since which, according to Wikipedia, have produced at least a couple hundred more) Nancy Drews. Crazy, no?
On another note, I made some calls about procuring entertainment for Sophie’s birthday party next month. I should be able to check that off my list by the end of the week. I like the idea of a friendly clown who can do face painting, tattoos and balloons – there’s a “Colors” and a “Lickerish” who might fit the bill. Sophie would love that.